Anthea Iva

The Director of Redstone Marketing asks three
nonprofit executives for their perspectives.

KATRINA LOCANDRO Marketing & Communications Manager, Liptember Foundation

Mental health feels like the topic of the year, gaining widespread attention and acceptance especially in light of the pandemic. For us, this is the only silver lining that has come out of what was a very tough year for many during COVID. 

It was important for us to get to know our fundraisers at a deeper level and understand why they got involved with Liptember so we could grow our community and our impact. We took what we learned from these discussions, tapped into their internal motivators, understood the ‘why’ and adapted our campaign to reflect the diverse and amazing champions of our cause; most of whom have lived experience with mental health/illness and who genuinely want to make an impact by sharing their experiences.

The 2021 Liptember campaign was developed with human connection, storytelling and personal mental health journeys at the heart of it. We listened, learned, connected and shared stories from the real women in our community who fight so hard to end the stigma surrounding seeking help. This inspiring group of women led Liptember’s ‘Real Talk’ campaign and empowered others to connect with the cause – talking real talk around the real issues; like pregnancy loss, suicide, family violence, postnatal depression and anxiety.

The result was a powerful movement of women uplifting and supporting other women, sharing stories, lived experience, loss, love and laughter – all for the common goal of raising awareness and funds for something they felt deeply connected to and passionate about. 

Tapping into what makes us human and sharing these experiences is the only way to connect with donors. Without that, there is no compelling or emotive reason to give. 

Donors want to make an impact, see transparency around funding and feel connected to the cause they’re giving to. Imagine if your friend shared their mental health journey with you – would you want to help?

In a year that seemed bleak for many charities, Liptember was able to grow its fundraising revenue by 20% – all thanks to the ‘Real Talk’ campaign and our strategic focus on connecting with the Liptember community. 

The thing is, mental health has been an important issue facing many Australian women long before the pandemic arose, but now there is an even more powerful movement behind us, propelling us forward, ensuring we can raise the vital funds necessary to support women’s mental health programs, initiatives, support services and research across the country – and we are so proud. 

JODY CROOKS Head of Donor Engagement & Retention, WWF-Australia

As fundraisers we know giving is inherently an emotional act. To elicit the strongest response from our fundraising efforts, it’s vital that we create an emotional connection with our donor.

The key for us has been to uncover our donors’ motivational drivers for supporting WWF-Australia, as well as their values and leading personality traits. These guiding insights enable us to create communications that resonate with donors on a more personal level and as such create that emotional link.

The belief that animals and nature are inherently worth protecting for their own sake was the overwhelming reason given for why our donors want to help our natural world. They also told us they feel a responsibility to leave it in a healthy shape for the generations to come. We use this insight to build propositions that connect with these intrinsic values, with a focus on the responsibility that we, as the custodians of Australia’s unique wildlife, have to protect it for the future. 

Our appeals usually include reflections or stories from program staff. As their lifetimes’ work is to conserve nature these can often be very personal accounts. These features allow donors to see that they share similar values with the people that are delivering the work they support, helping to create a shared bond.   

Of the big five personality traits, our donors score highly for agreeableness, indicating high levels of compassion. By using keywords that resonate well with this personality group, such as ‘protect’, ‘nurture’, and ‘care’, we can use language as a tool to connect more strongly with a donor’s sense of self.

We also aim to celebrate the attributes of the donor, rather than just their gift. For example, thanking for their generosity, versus the generous donation. This helps a donor positively self-identify and we hope this uplifting emotional response will encourage them to give again. 

DR LOREL COLGIN Head of Marketing and Communications, Children’s Medical Research Institute

Four years ago, Children’s Medical Research Institute decided to reimagine its Jeans for Genes campaign, focusing on kids with genetic diseases rather than fun and fashion. It’s always risky shifting brand strategy, especially with something as beloved as Jeans for Genes. 

As we now head into our fifth year, it is easy to see all the logical marketing reasons for staying the course. Consistency for brand knowledge and awareness, focusing on the cause… but all those reasons, as true as they are, aren’t why I feel in my gut that this is still a strong campaign. It’s strong because it is about real hope. 

Medical research takes decades and provides no instant fix for anything. Researchers tackle experiments day after day, rethinking approaches after every setback, barely pausing to cherish a successful publication or other win. They keep going because hope drives them. They hope the next experiment will lead to the next discovery which will lead to the next therapy and finally, one day, a cure where none existed. There is hope, I daresay belief, that the diseases of today will be a thing of the past, and that the research they are doing now is what will create that future. 

I know this because I used to be a researcher myself. I remember commiserating with another scientist in the lab next door about yet another week of failed experiments. He happens to be the co-lead researcher on the 2020 top ranked NHMRC grant in Australia, winner of the Marshall and Warren Ideas Grant Award. His work has the potential to cure countless children with genetic diseases. I am so glad he never gave up hope.

That’s why our Jeans for Genes campaign will continue to be about hope too. It will continue to show the faces of those children who might battle cystic fibrosis or endure chemotherapy off camera, but for that instant when we snap the campaign image, they are fully a kid and fully prepared to live life to the fullest and conquer the world one day. We want to turn that instant of joy into a sustained, lifelong reality for every child. Together – researchers, marketers, supporters – we can do it.